This selection, chosen by guest curator Heather Leigh, is from Requiem for a Robot Dog by Lauren Scharhag, released by Cajun Mutt Press in 2019.
People think that citizenship
is something that just happens,
that it’s automatic, like a luggage carousel.
Once you’re disgorged, someone’s bound to claim you.
But borders, like names, are just lines on paper.
You know how it is, when you dream of a place,
but it doesn’t look like that place anymore?
The city where your grandparents were born
no longer exists. Bombs got it, or a disease,
or just a man with an eraser. Sleepwalking,
adrift, history-less, everything familiar is alien.
Words like fence and tent were once innocuous,
words like displaced and refugee meant someone else.
People speak, but their language is not your language.
They are not eager to share their world with you,
or for you to share your world with them.
You stand outside and try to remember what it looks like
when a door actually opens.